Poetry [using APA 5th ed.]


This source is not covered by the APA style manual. Check with your lecturer before using this suggestion which is based on APA style.

If you need to refer to a poem, you should reference the source in the usual way, if it is a book, article or webpage.

When writing about poetry it is likely that you will include the name of the poet and the title of the poem in your text in any case. See below for some examples of reference list entries for poetry.

The year you quote should be the publication date of the source, not the date the poem was written, or first published. If the date of writing is significant, you could include it in your text.

Standard Form

This will depend on the nature of the source


From a single author collection of poetry
Pope, A. (1963). The poems of Alexander Pope (J. Butt, Ed.). London: Methuen.
Hardy, T. (1930). The collected poems of Thomas Hardy (4th ed.). London: Macmillan.

From an anthology of poetry using the "Chapter in an edited book" style

Behn, A. (2001). The disappointment. In J. Stevenson, & P. Davidson (Eds.), Early modern women poets: an anthology (pp. 365-369). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cleveland, J. (1972). To the state of love, or the senses festival. In H. Gardner (Ed.), The metaphysical poets (pp. 218-220). Harmonsworth: Penguin.

From the web
Herrick, R. (n.d.). To daffodils. Retrieved, January 12, 2010, from http://quotations.about.com/cs/poemlyrics/a/To_Daffodils.htm
Donne, J. (2003). To his mistress going to bed. Retrieved January 12, 2010 from http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/elegy20.htm

Citation in Text

To daffodils (Herrick, n.d.) is a typical example of the poet's treatment of the fleetingness of life ...

"O, my America, my Newfoundland" (Donne, 2003) is a pun which may sound slightly awkward to the modern ear. However, in the context of the poet's period ...

In Ode for Musick, on St Cecilia's Day (Pope, 1963, pp. 139-142) the poet writes an occasional poem which was probably never set to music ...

Hardy (1930, p. 126) experiments with an uncommon form, the triolet, in The coquette, and after ...

In The disappointment, Behn (2001, p. 367) describes male impotence from a female perspective ...

Cleveland (1972, p. 219), alludes to Drake's circumnavigation of the world in To the state of love, which is an example of ...


  • If you wish to cite individual lines in a poem, follow departmental guidance, or simply add (line 52) or (lines 52-59) at an appropriate point in your text.